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Comments on draft-connolly-text-html-00.txt

From: Bert Bos <Bert.Bos@sophia.inria.fr>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 16:19:20 -0400 (EDT)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <14315.51461.313609.713155@www43.inria.fr>
I saw that Dan Connolly and Larry Masinter published an Internet Draft
for the long overdue update of the definition of "text/html." Good


The draft says comments should be sent here, so here they are:

1) Dan & Larry have been a bit overzealous, because they also include
the infamous "appendix C" subset of XHTML[1] in the definition of
"text/html." That doesn't seem to be the intention of the XHTML spec.

The spec says XHTML is the first version of a new family of
formats[2], called XHTML. It's not "HTML 5.0" but "XHTML 1.0."

(I would take the easy route and reserve "text/xhtml" for it right
away, but I know that there are discussions elsewhere[3,4] about the
desirability of giving all XML-derived formats a media type with the
string "xml" in it, something like: text/xml;format=xhtml, or
text/xhtml-xml. But that is a different discussion.)

Appendix C does give hints for how to make a subset of XHTML 1.0
documents work in the majority of currently deployed HTML browsers,
but the appendix is non-normative and it doesn't require that all HTML
browsers support that subset.

I conclude (and from discussions with other people I have the
impression that I am right in this) that sending XHTML 1.0 documents
as text/html is purely a transition strategy: a cheap conversion to an
"HTML-workalike" rather than a costly one to real HTML, until such
time as enough browsers support XML. Section 5.1[4] appears to say the
same with different words.

2) The draft uses both "media type" and "MIME type". I don't know what
the preferred name is. IANA seems to use "media type" and "MIME media

3) The section on magic numbers takes four paragraphs to say that
there are none. I suggest removing all but the first. The heuristics
wouldn't help with writing a "magic(4)" file.

(Also, on the 1st line of the 3rd para of this section "HTML 4.01" is

4) Section 2 says that doctype can be used to distinguish the
versions. It should probably also say something about the absence of a
doctype, which is allowed at least in HTML 2.0. Maybe it should say
that the absence of a doctype means version 4.01 (or the "latest
version" in case there are any after 4.01). Or maybe that the absence
of a doctype means that all bets are off...

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/#xhtml
[3] http://www.imc.org/ietf-xml-mime/
[4] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/#media

  Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C ) http://www.w3.org/
  http://www.w3.org/people/bos/                              W3C/INRIA
  bert@w3.org                             2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
  +33 (0)4 92 38 76 92            06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Monday, 27 September 1999 09:28:24 UTC

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